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FheCreatrOe^oman 




CROSSING THE MAINSTREAM 



FALL 1991 




Volume 11, No. 3, Fall 1991 



The 
Creatine 
V^Oman Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466 



3193 



Published under the auspices of ti ie provosts office, 
© 1991 governors state university and i ielen i iuci ies 



ISSN 0736 - 4733 



STAFF 

Helen E. Hughes, Editor 
Suzanne Oliver, Art Director 
Barbara Conant, Library Resources 
Nirmalo Grutzius, Business Manager 
Lynne Hostetter, Word Processing 
Linda Kuester, Word Processing 
Priscilla Rockwell, Editorial Consultant 
Emily Wasiolek, Editorial Consultant 
Sally Petrilli, Editorial Consultant 
Nancy Scale Osbome, Guest Editor 
Barbara W. Cerber, Guest Editor 



EDITORIAL BOARD 

Glenda Bailey-Mershon, Illinois NOW/Natwnal Organization for Women, Oak Park, II. 

Donna Bandstra, llealthgroup International, Sherman Oaks, CA 

Margaret Brady, Social Sciences, Homewood, IL 

Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Society of Ponoma Valley, CA 

Rita Durrant, League of American Penvjomen, Doylestown, PA 

Deborah Garretson, Counseling, Muncie, IN 

Temmie Gilbert, Theatre/ Media, Governors State University 

Linda Crace-Kobas, journalism, University of Buffalo, NY 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/ Women's Studies, Governors State University 

Helene N. Cuttman, Biological Sciences, Bethesda, MD 

Bethe Hagens, Anthropology, Governors State University 

Barbara Jenkins, Psychology, Governors State University 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, CA 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, PA 

Rev. Lynn Thomas Strauss, Religion, Women's Studies/ Parenting, Oak Park, II. 



PAGE 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



4 Introduction. Crossing The Mainstream: Lesbian perspectives HEH, NSO, & BWG 

6 In (or Out of) the Mainstream Barbara W. Cerber 

9 FIVE PERSONAL STATEMENTS 

9 Changing Images: Lesbian Parenting ]MG 

12 Outsiders on the Inside: Women of Color and Working Class Women in Academia ....Elaine Leeder 

15 Crossing the Mainstream Deborah Horning 

17 Sister Jerome Nancy Seale Osborne 

19 The History of Snakes Greta Gaani 

21 "Guilt by Association" and "Not For A Passing Moment Only" (poems) Donna Langston 

22 Photographs by Cathy Cade 

26 Photostories Sherry Kromer Shapiro 

28 How Reading Maya Angelou Changed My Life Patricia Williams 

29 Review Essay, Our Stories, Ourselves Joyce Cote 

32 A Very Personal Review: Bi Any Other Name Reviewed by Linda Bubon 

34 Book Review, Lesbian Lists Reviewed by Lesley Daignault Peases 

35 Book Review, Movement in Black and Crime Against Nature Revieioed by Mary Russo Denwtrick 

36 Book Review, 

The Chant of the Women of Magdalena and the Magdalena Poems Reviewed by Nancy Seale Osborne 

37 "Winslow Homer's Watching the Breakers" (poem) Susan Swartwout 

38 Three Portraits (poems) Laurie Suzanne Lessen 

40 Letters To The Editor 

42 Announcements and Ads 

45 Editor's Column UEII 




The Creative Woman is published throe times a year by Governors 
State University. Wc focus on a special topic in each issue, presented 
from a feminist perspective. Wc celebrate the creative achievements of 
women in many fields and appeal to inquiring minds. Wc publish 
fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, photography and onginal graphic 



Cover: Jon and Judio. I was with |udie tor 
months before I admitted to mvselt that we 
were more than friends. There is not much 
support for interracial relationships. (1981). 
Photo credit: Cathv Cade. 





INTRODUCTION 





CROSSING THE MAINSTREAM: LESBIAN PERSPECTIVES 

How this issue came to be - introducing our guest editors 

The place was Newport, Rhode Island. The 
time, March 1989. The occasion, the 14th Confer- 
ence of AWP (Association for Women in Psy- 
chology). "The Many Faces of Feminist Psychol- 
ogy" was the conference theme, and many 
sessions and papers dealt with the varied con- 
cerns of lesbians as therapists, patients, mothers, 
or partners in a world made for conventional 
couples and traditional families. With such a 
rich ferment of ideas, and so many strong and 
articulate women, here if anywhere, it seemed, 
one might recruit guest editors for a special 
issue of this magazine on women who live 
untraditional lives. In response to a public 
invitation, two came forward: Nancy Seale 
Osborne, librarian, and Barbara W. Gerber, 
professor, Counseling and Psychological Ser- 
vices. We liked the title of a collection of fiction 
by women published by Silverleaf Press - Cross- 
ing the Mainstream - and gratefully adopted it. 
The guest editors sent out a call for manuscripts, 
asking especially for material on the effects of 
being "in" or "out" of the expectations of society. 

Why an issue on women living 
untraditional lives? 

FIRST, because of the wealth of significant 
contributions of lesbian women to art, literature, 
music and feminist theory. From Sappho in 

ancient Greece, Aphra Behn in Restoration England, to Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville- 
West, Natalie Barney and Djuna Barnes, women-who-loved-women have created works of genius. 
Among contemporary intellectuals, consider the profound impact of the contributions of Mary Daly to 
theology, of Adrienne Rich to theory and poetry. And we mention only a few of the best-known names. 
How many other great writers and artists belong in this list, one cannot know, because under the rule 
of the patriarchy it has not been safe for women to publicly announce their sexual identities. Our self- 
imposed task at The Creative Woman has been to make the invisible visible: to display and celebrate 
the creative achievements of women in many fields. This time we say: here, take a look at this! 




The graphic above is from the program, The Many Faces of Feminist Psychology, for the 14th National 
Conference of the Association for Women in Psychology, Newport, Rhode Island, 1989. 





INTRODUCTION 





SECOND, because the time has come to remove the stigma and oppose discrimination based on 
homosexuality or bisexuality. This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the American Psycho- 
logical Association's adoption of an official policy statement that reads: 

Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgement, stability, reliability, or general 
social or vocational capabilities. 

Similar resolutions supporting the removal of "homosexuality" from the official list of mental 
disorders and deploring discrimination based on sexual orientation had been passed, even 
before the APA's policy statement, by the American Sociological Association, the National 
Association for Mental Health, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American 
Psychiatric Association. The September 1991 issue of American Psychologist is a highly recom- 
mended resource for an overview of progress made in civil rights for lesbians and gay males; 
guidelines for avoiding heterosexist bias in psychological research; issues in psychotherapy with 
lesbians and gay men; and guidelines for all wordsmiths on avoiding heterosexual bias in 
language. 

Our readers include a wide range of perspectives and orientations; they are of diverse ethnic 
identities, of all ages and conditions, straight and lesbian. It is our hope that this issue, especially 
the personal statements, will communicate a way of being-in-the-world that will be enlighten- 
ing, and that it will make a small contribution to the removal of stigma and discrimination. 

Here our guest editors carry on the metaphor and introduce what has been two years of work. 

HEH 

CROSSING THE MAINSTREAM 

For two canoeists, the idea of crossing the mainstream presents a challenge which requires 
adequate planning, suitable equipment, and a trustworthy craft (in our case, it is either a cedar- 
strip or a kevlar canoe, the latter being best for rougher waters and rocky bottoms). When the 
Editor, Helen Hughes, asked us to guest edit this issue of The Creative Woman, she had chosen 
the issue title already. We were excited by it, and it has guided our search for work that would 
represent something of our immense diversity of lesbian existence. 

During the two years during which we have been working on this issue, we have canoed as 
often as we can into the wilderness. Even with equipment suitable for the conditions, with 
bodies strengthened by regular swimming and Nordic track, and with topographical maps 
scrutinized for hours by winter firelight, we have had some distinct challenges. One memorable 
grey, cold day found us unnecessarily canoeing fifteen miles out of the way, against the wind, 
due to miscalculation. Of course, it always makes a great story after it's over. 

Women who write for this issue have their own strengths, their own support structures, and 
their own unique life plans for crossing their mainstreams. We do not pretend to say that what 
is published in this issue is representative. We are appreciative to our writers, and we honor the 
anonymity of one writer, at the same time that we grieve the loss of manuscripts we were unable 
to publish because of the writers' doubt, fear, and uncertainty. 

Nancy Seale Osborne 
Barbara W. Gerber 



IN (OR OUT OF) THE 
MAINSTREAM? 

Combining Unity, Diversity and Equality 
in the National Women's Studies 
Association 

Barbara W. Gerber 

One can talk about the history (or histories) of an 
academic organization from several standpoints: 
successive conferences and themes; major plenary 
sessions; topics discussed at the business meet- 
ings; or by describing the series of influential 
people in the organization. My goal is to note one 
perspective in the history of women's studies 
with the major focus on the organization that 
arose to serve the field of women's studies in the 
United States. National Women's Studies Asso- 
ciation (NWSA) was designed primarily by 
academic women who were often, along with 
their students, working in campus and community 
centers that focused on women's issues. Thus, 
NWSA arose with interests in both academic and 
community settings, and was from its inception, at 
the edge, if not out, of the mainstream. 

In the late 1960s women began organizing for the 
promotion of a feminist agenda in the colleges and 
universities. This agenda included issues of 
equality in student admission criteria, equal pay, 
equal access to tenure line positions, and increased 
opportunities for promotion in teaching ranks as 
well as in other professional positions. Students 
also began agitating relatively early on, in connec- 
tion with the student movement for relevance in 
the content of the curriculum, for courses that 
addressed women's issues and lives. Some of the 
first courses that appeared were to be found in 
English and History departments. One found 
Women in Literature, and Women Poets, as well as 
generic history courses: Women in History, 
World History, or American History. Such survey 
courses multiplied in a variety of disciplines 
throughout the 70s, and each year one could note 
the geometric increases: in courses, students 
registered, and campuses having women's studies 
offerings. 

In the mid-seventies talk began, among the people 
who were by now five or more years into this 
work, about what might be the next steps to bring 
this interdisciplinary area into recognition by the 




discussions at Modern Language Association, 
American Historical Association, Organization of 
American Historians and the Berkshire conference 
at Radcliffe. I first attended a discussion at the 
1974 Berkshire Conference on Women in History 
where consensus was being built for the estab- 
lishment of a women's studies organization. 
People in the fields of history and literature led the 
way, and by 1976 there was an organizing com- 
mittee established, a date (January 13-17, 1977), 
and a place set (University of San Francisco) for 
the first meeting of NWSA. Representatives from 
the organizing committee based at San Jose State 
met with east coast organizers at the Berkshire 
Conference at Bryn Mawr in June of 1976, to plan 
strategies for including diversity among those 
who were to be attending as delegates to the 
founding convention. 

A particularly salient feature of NWSA from its 
conception has been inclusivity. This has meant a 
struggle to bring the principles of sisterhood, 



solidarity, and empowerment to ALL partici- 
pants. It has also meant that we have struggled 
to design forms of governance that facilitate 
rather than impede the attainment of such goals. 
It has been very important throughout the history 
of NWSA to keep the base broad and to encour- 
age widespread participation in all aspects of the 
association. In fact the first constitution was 
drawn together from the series of resolutions that 
were created and approved at the January 1977 
conference by the specifically 1 diverse group of 
attendees. 

NWSA has been formally committed from the 
beginning to ensuring that minority points of 
view are given more than token consideration. It 
is made up of individuals and programs commit- 
ted to feminist education, and that too is defined 
very comprehensively in the original constitution 
and in subsequent mission statements. The most 
recent mission statement approved in February 
1991, says: 

NWSA has a vision of a world in which all persons 
can develop to their fullest potential and be free 
from all the ideologies and structures that con- 
sciously or unconsciously oppress and exploit 
some for the advantage of others. 

To this end, this organization is committed to 
support and promote feminist teaching, research, 
and professional and community service at the 
pre-K through post-secondary levels. Integral to 
this commitment is understanding the political 
ramifications in our teaching, research and ser- 
vice. 2 

The organization has encountered considerable 
rough water: several series of rapids, Class IV 
and above; a multitude of cross-currents; and an 
occasional whirlpool. There is an inherent and 
constant tension between generic organizational 
development and the disposition to inclusivity. 
Existing political frameworks (ways of doing 
business as an organization) are not well adapted 
to accommodating differences in power, prefer- 
ences, and goals among the membership, espe- 
cially while we are also trying to recognize, 
develop, and nourish the sense of commonality 
and community among the same people. 

In 1982 the NWSA constitution was revised with 
the goal of more equitable access to participation 
in decision-making at the grassroots level, the 
Delegate Assembly. Other changes with similar 



goals have evolved in the structures of governance* 
during the past ten years which have not been 
formally incorporated in governance documents. 
In 1990, a formal Governance Reorganization 
Committee was set into motion with the task of 
reconsideration of the organization structures in 
NWSA. The reporting back deadline is the 1992 
conference. 

The Committee has met several times since being 
formed. The meetings have been characterized by 
excellent discussions, brainstorming the possibili- 
ties for creating an efficient structure which will 
also maximize democracy. One important route 
will be providing clear avenues for communica- 
tion throughout the organization. Underlying all 
deliberations is the genuine commitment to diver- 
sity and inclusivity. This committee is really 
trying to re-imagine NWSA's governance; changes 
being considered range from minor adjustments to 
the possible elimination of whole aspects of the 
current structure. We are looking at plans for 
reorganizing all of the units of governance in 
NWSA, including Caucuses, Task Forces, the 
Coordinating Council and the Delegate Assembly. 
Any changes recommended will be submitted to 
the entire membership for approval. 

Within NWSA, members have been confronted 
with the tensions between commonality and 
difference, and between empowerment and 
efficiency in their attempts to put into practice the 
ideals of equality, unity, inclusivity and participa- 
tion. As there are no plans to substantially change 
course, there are several areas that will require 
constant attention. Among them are: establishing 
equality when inequality is the world norm; being 
genuinely inclusive; the problem of developing 
unity within very real diversity; gaining wide 
participation; and addressing the organizational 
questions of hierarchy and collectivity (Leidner, 
1991). 

Equality can be addressed if an organization 
provides for the voices of under-represented 
groups at decision-making tables. Questions of 
sisterhood and common purpose are often raised 
in contexts of diversity. Each wonders whether 
what she wants/needs/thinks is appropriate will 
ever be realized. Current tensions exist between 
those who emphasize the need for an organization 
that validates their work as women's studies 
students, teachers and scholars/researchers and 



those who emphasize the goal of working on 
developing the widest diversity. Because we have 
defined feminist education very broadly we are 
not living up to our ideals if we only serve one 
constituency, one goal. The constant question 
then must be on the definition of the boundaries of 
inclusivity in the organization. 

Other manifestations of the tensions have also 
been voiced. If NWS A can't fulfill its promises 
right now, why bother with it? It certainly is true 
that when hopes (that appear to be promises) for a 
better today or tomorrow are not forthcoming, 
folks raise serious questions. Indeed, they often 
leave the organization, thereby diminishing 
former levels of diversity. 

Historically, hierarchical organizations have been 
associated with male privilege and power. Most 
feminists are properly suspicious of the necessity 
for creating within an organization more inegali- 
tarian relationships. The early women's move- 
ment stressed collectivity and consensus as ways 
to make decisions within groups and they are the 
most inclusive because they maximize participa- 
tion. However, one cannot easily, (and maybe not 
ever) govern with a collectivity that has no geo- 
graphic proximity. If one cannot meet face-to-face 
to work out consensus there is no collectivity. In 
the last ten years leadership in NWSA has devel- 
oped semi-hierarchical structures in order to 
effectively operate between semi-annual meetings 
of the governing board. It appears that some 
hierarchy may have to be institutionalized in the 
reorganization so the full membership can partici- 
pate in designating leadership through direct 
elections. 

There is no easily discernible place to enter or ford 
the stream at our current location. There remains 
a great need for an organization to serve the 
constituency of women's studies in all her mani- 
festations. NWSA has done that for nearly four- 
teen years with varying levels of success, as 
reported from the diversity of viewpoints doing 
the assessing. There are more mainstream 
women's organizations, none of which specifically 
serve Women's Studies, and few if any are dedi- 
cated to the principles of unity, diversity and 
equality for all women. 



Today there are thousands of Women's Studies 
courses being taught each year in hundreds of 
colleges and universities. There are many gradu- 
ate programs, several of which are full-fledged 
doctoral programs in Canada and the United 
States. Many European countries have strong 
feminist communities as well as women's studies 
programs. Women's studies scholars have 
emerged in both Japan and India in recent years. 
Women in African countries have also emerged to 
claim for themselves the realm of scholarship on 
women. Recently, I had the privilege of meeting 
and talking with women scholars studying 
women's issues from the People's Republic of 
China and from USSR, specifically Moscow State 
University. Lastly, in North America there are 
increasing signs of women's studies curriculum 
seeping into the secondary schools in the form of 
courses and special units as well as being inte- 
grated into the "regular" courses. Perhaps 
women's issues and women will become the 
mainstream in the future. 



Endnotes: 

1 . The instructions to state delegations were specific to 
include in their membership representation of faculty, staff 
members, students, and appropriate racial diversity. 

2. Quoted from Coordinating Council minutes of February 
1991. 

Reference: 

Leidner, R. (1991) "Stretching the Boundaries of Liberalism: 
Democratic Innovation in a Feminist Organization." SIGNS: 
Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 16, no. 2. 



Barbara W. Gerber, Co-Guest Editor, is a feminist counseling 
psychologist who is active at the local, state and national level 
in Women's Studies and serves as Chair of the NWSA 
Governance Reorganization Committee. She teaches 
Psychology of Women at the graduate and undergraduate 
levels and graduate classes in counseling psychology. She is a 
1991 recipient of an Excellence Award from New York State/ 
United University Professions and the 1991 SUNY Oswego 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award for her work with 
gay and lesbian students and community work with victims 
of domestic violence. 



CHANGING IMAGES: LESBIAN 
PARENTING 

JMG 

I am a woman who is forty-one years old. I am a 
woman who has been married for nineteen years 
and eleven months. I am a woman who is also a 
mother of two children. I am a woman who has, 
for most of her adult life, denied the fact that she is 
sexually attracted to women. I am a woman who 
has only within the last five years begun to ac- 
knowledge the fact that she might be a lesbian. "I 
think it's who I am, who I've always been" 
(Jullion, 1985, p. 41) is an accurate statement of 
how I feel. 

Will I lose my sons? My older son is eighteen and 
in his first year of college. My younger son is a 
thirteen year old eighth grader. My husband, with 
whom I have shared this new knowledge about 
myself, says that this will not be an issue in any 
custody discussions. Do I trust him? At this point 
my sons are not aware; will I be forced to tell them 
before I have had the opportunity to lay the 
groundwork that will help them deal with their 
emotions and with our homophobic society? 
"One can never really feel safe as a lesbian 
mother" (Pollack, 1987, p. 319). I have begun to 
understand that my sons, particularly my younger 
son, might not be allowed to be part of my every- 
day life. That I might lose my right to be an 
everyday mother because I happen to love 
women. That I have no protection in a court of 
law regarding custody. That I have to believe that 
my husband is a man of his word. I hope we, my 
husband and I, make choices and move in direc- 
tions that are good for our sons. The notion that I 
really have little or no control over this situation 
causes me to rage. To rage at a world that makes 
me feel powerless. To rage at myself for all the 
years that I have turned a blind eye to the silent 
discrimination others must have endured. 

Will I be poor? No, not poor, but my household 
will have to be sustained on one-third of what we 
have as a married couple. Do I fear "coming out" 
as a lesbian in a society which mandates and 
rewards heterosexuality? Yes, I fear both the loss 
of my children and my job. I fear being unable to 



find a decent place to live, if I choose to live with 
my lover. I also, for the first time, understand the 
true meaning of discrimination. "Lesbians have to 
endure an especially oppressive existence in a 
society which discriminates against them because 
they are women, and because they prefer intimate 
relationships with other women" (Erlichman, 
1988, p. 207). I think I have a sense of what it 
means to have a double-barreled shotgun staring 
you in the face. 




Families in our society are defined as father, 
mother and child(ren). Many lesbians are forming 
families that cannot be defined in this traditional 
manner. Lesbian co-parents struggle to meet the 
needs of their children and stepchildren, to have 
separate lives as a couple, and to live within a 
homophobic world. Additionally, it can be very 
difficult for a new co-parent to fit into an already 
well-established relationship between a mother 
and child(ren). It is very possible that I/we will 
face this very issue: if and when my lover and 1 
decide to live together; if, in fact, I get joint cus- 
tody of my younger son. We, my partner and I, 
and my sons will have to deal with many of these 
issues together against a society that has often 
used motherhood to keep women poor and pow- 
erless. The United States endorses and institution- 
alizes heterosexuality by not recognizing same-sex 
cohabitation as a legal-economic status. Many 
lesbians' lives are fragmented because they live a 
dual existence and they do not receive validation 
of their relationships. For example lesbians are 
not protected bv law in the areas of insurance 

9 



benefits, custody rights, or marriage vows. 

A woman cannot live healthily, be fully inte- 
grated, if major parts of her life are held secret. 
"The closeted lesbian is a woman who feels that 
she is at risk of a major loss — her job, her home, 
her economic security, her family, her friends, or 
her children — if her sexual orientation is dis- 
closed. As a result, the closeted lesbian is forced 
to lead a double life, constantly denying who she 
really is and whom she really loves" (Gartrell, 
1987, p. 414). I understand that the "coming out" 
process is lifelong; one has not only to stop being 
secretive, but one must in many instances tell or at 
least let others know the truth.. .so it continues 
over time. It should be the individual's decision if, 
and when to "come out" and in what fashion, but I 
am also beginning to understand that by not 
acknowledging my homosexuality, I may be 
allowing other people and institutions to have 
extraordinary control and power over my life. 
"Coming out" is an issue over which I continually 
struggle. As I think about the possibility of telling 
my sons about my lesbianism, I understand that I 
must look within myself. As I look within myself I 
must be honest with myself and with them about 
what I have found. I do find it ironic that both my 
thirteen-year-old son and I are exploring our 
emerging sexuality. His sexuality is budding 
while my true sexuality is being released after a 
long imprisonment. 

I hope as I enter this next stage of my life that my 
sons will continue to accept and love me as their 
mother. Perhaps when I share with them this new 
knowledge of my sexuality they will, after a time, 
begin to question the assumptions of compulsory 
heterosexuality. It is my hope that they will come 
to understand the many different lives people can 
live as they are involved in healthy and satisfying 
relationships. 

How do I explore this issue, homosexuality, with 
my sons? First, I believe I must continue to edu- 
cate myself. I must also work at self-acceptance, 
overcoming the internalized self-hate our 
homophobic society teaches everyone. I need to 
strengthen my own sense of feeling good about 
being a lesbian before I can speak confidently to 
my sons. One woman wrote of this experience, 
"Coming out to one's child is an absolutely 
wrenching experience. A twelve year old just 
does not understand" (Anonymous, in Pollack & 



Vaughn, 1987, p. 256). How can I help my chil- 
dren cope with the homophobia they will experi- 
ence both within themselves and externally, when 
(and if) I am the one to tell them? What if they 
reject me? How will I feel if they turn away from 
me and take as their own the most negative soci- 
etal view of me? 

Many lesbian mothers have experienced discrimi- 
nation. As I am only now at the door of the 
lesbian community, I have not had any experience 
of being discriminated against because I have 
children, particularly male children. My sons are 
a primary force in my life; strengthening my times 
with them as they grow and separate is something 
on which I will spend much energy. Currently 
many lesbians are exploring or actually seeking 
parenthood through various methods, including 
artificial insemination and adoption. It seems as if 
lesbian parenting is in vogue. The number of 
lesbian mothers is significant and even growing, 
so I feel that I will be able to establish a support 
system for myself within this community. 

What road will I take as I continue to explore who 
I am? The lesbian community as a whole must 
decide in which direction it wishes to move. 
Among the issues that will continue to challenge 
the lesbian community are the legal system, 
sameness and differences between lesbian and 
straight families, and the question of children's 
sexuality as determined by whether they have gay 
or straight parents. 

Writing this was a difficult undertaking. It took 
me weeks to decide on how to approach it. I just 
could not get going. Finally I realized that what I 
really wanted to do was to examine lesbian 
parenting. Initially I was afraid of having to read 
article after article about lesbian mothers whose 
children were ripped away from them by homo- 
phobic judges; custody cases in which children 
were awarded to straight fathers who were 
viewed as better parents solely because they are 
heterosexual. But I have gradually begun to 
understand that I am a good parent, and I will 
continue to be a good parent despite my sexual 
preference. I have confirmed for myself that our 
homophobic society is permeated with myths 
regarding lesbian mothers, and that I must work 
toward the destruction of these myths. 



10 



How do I do that? We must be a visible group, we 
lesbian parents. We must be willing to take risks, 
both personal and economic. We must challenge 
the court system (and also our own personal 
support systems) to re-examine views on homo- 
sexuality. Everyone must be taught to understand 
that the term lesbian parent is not an oxymoron. 

Will I ever be able to do these things? I am not 
sure if I can do them now. I feel I need to continue 
to develop a sense of pride and positive self- 
esteem regarding myself. Perhaps as I continue to 
do this, little by little, the closet door will begin to 
open. 



REFERENCES & RESOURCES 

Erlichman, K.L. (1988). Lesbian mothers: ethical issues in 
social work practice. Women & Therapy, 8, 207-223. 

Cartrell, N. (1987). The lesbian as a "single" woman. 
American Journal of Psychotherapy, 1981, 35,(4), 502-09. 

Jullion, J. (1995). Long way home: The Odyssey of a lesbian 
mother and her children. San Francisco, Pittsburgh: Cleis. 

Pollack, S. & Vaughn, J. (1987). Politics of the heart: A 
lesbian parenting anthology. Ithaca: Firebrand Press. 



"JMG" is the pseudonym for a courageous woman graduate 
student who agreed to let us publish her story anonymously. 
Her writing itself offers biographical information for the 
readers of this "Crossing the Mainstream" issue. 




New Uictoria Publishers, P0 Boh 27, Norwich, Ut. 05055 



New Victoria Publishers today is a nonprofit cultural feminist organization that has published 16 
books with a goal of publishing 6 per year. New Victoria thanks all the people who have supported it 
over the years and invites them to join in as we celebrate our 14th year of publishing books that 
women love to read. 

*** 

Incidentally, New Victoria was named after Victoria Press, a print shop in London in the 1860s thai 
was owned by Emily Faithful who employed only women She also published and printed a magazine 
called Victoria Magazine . which advocated the rights of women. 



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11 



OUTSIDERS ON THE INSIDE: 
WOMEN OF COLOR AND 
WORKING CLASS WOMEN IN 
ACADEMIA 

Elaine Leeder 



I never know if I am working class or not. Cer- 
tainly as I was growing up we were not economi- 
cally well off. My father was an immigrant from 
Lithuania who lost his entire family in the Holo- 
caust. My mother, although born in the US, was of 
Ukrainian origin and her leather factory worker 
parents would hardly qualify as middle class. In 
fact my mother did not speak English until she 
was in public school and Yiddish continued to be 
her language of choice for most of her life. But my 
father's family had been fairly comfortable in 
Europe, owning both a farm and a shop in town. 
All was lost when Hitler murdered the Jews of the 
town of Kuperski, near Vilnius. My father, a 
Yeshiva educated young man, came to the US 
with nothing and actually never attained much 
financially in all his years in this country. He 
worked as a rag picker and eventually opened a 
junk shop with his uncle. Thus is he a "petit 
bourgeois," immigrant, working class or a scholar? 
Immigrants are hard to define in class terms, since 
they were once of one class, move and become 
another and may once again change class status 
later in life. 

All I know is that I grew up in an ethnically 
diverse working class town, Lynn, Massachusetts, 
an industrial slum north of Boston. In my neigh- 
borhood all the families had factory worker 
fathers. We all lived in the three-story frame 
houses, attended public school and knew that we 
had little money with which to be frivolous. I 
began working at fourteen and have never 
stopped since. I was self-supporting by sixteen 
and put myself through college and three gradu- 
ate schools with no assistance from family. I know 
that there are many things that I never learned 
because of my class and ethnic background which 
have caused me embarrassment later in life. For 
example, in my family wiping oneself after leaving 

12 



the toilet was unheard of. It took me until second 
grade to find out that girls did such a thing. 
Certainly proper silverware use, basic cleanliness 
habits and "proper" forms of speech did not come 
until much later in life, as I moved up in socioeco- 
nomic status. 

Education was the only vehicle that was available 
to escape what I found to be an untenable child- 
hood and living situation. My father, an Orthodox 
Jew, was a traditional old world patriarch. My 
mother kowtowed to his every whim. I was 
scripted to become a Jewish wife and mother. But I 
was smart and rebellious and fortunately the 
women's movement came along at such a time as 
to provide me a route from the preordained path. I 
did fairly well in school and went to a cooperative 
college, where I could work and go to school at the 
same time. There I was a commuter and certainly 
did not experience college as the fun or social 
scene it was to many. I worked a lot and studied 
hard. By the time I was ready for graduate school I 
did not stray far, attending a social work school 
for orthodox Jews in New York. Once again I 
worked, studied and did well. After marrying, 
traveling, becoming a hippy and having a child, I 
attended graduate school once again, now for a 
masters in public health and then finally a Ph.D. in 
1985. In the process I also became a lesbian and 
forswore all (or at least a good part) of the tradi- 
tional Jewish values that had been inculcated. 

Currently I am an associate professor of sociology 
and social work at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY. I 
adore my work and find my greatest pleasure 
comes from being in the classroom. Ithaca College 
is a small, private, liberal arts college in upstate 
New York where most of the students come from 
upper middle class families. Their lives are so 
unlike the one that I lived at their age that I often 
marvel at the privileges they assume to be their 
right. My relationship with these students has 
actually been remarkably unproblematic. Perhaps 
because I am a woman I have learned how to 
accommodate myself to most circumstances. My 
teaching evaluations have always been outstand- 
ing and I have received awards for my ability to 
relate to the students. My language is sometimes a 
shock to them and there are those who are amazed 
that I can so easily "cuss" (as it has been said to 
me). My teaching style is probably a product of 



class background. I tend to have a chatty style, one 
that is egalitarian and inclusive. I know this is a 
product of being female, but it is also a product of 
feeling quite uncomfortable in traditional, hierar- 
chical classrooms. I try to engage in a pedagogy of 
dialogue and interaction. I know that I fear most 
teachers who intimidate and challenge aggres- 
sively. Thus, my style tends to be more participa- 
tory and certainly works well with this age group. 

I believe that my class background has, in fact, 
enhanced my ability to relate to students. Because 
I have learned to relate to a wide variety of people, 
both as a social worker and a child of immigrants, 
I find it easy to find a common ground with these 
young people. I seem to be able to speak their 
language, probably because I love people of all 
kinds. For students who come of wealth I am often 
a "stranger in a strange land," sort of an anthro- 
pologist studying a foreign culture. I ask ques- 
tions, I am fascinated by their lifestyles and values. 
I also feel, as a person who comes from a different 
experience, that I have much to teach them. They 
cannot know what it is like to be poor and so I feel 
that I provide the window into that world. They 
have narrow views of race, class, gender and 
sexual orientation and it becomes my task to open 
their eyes. 

Because of my working class background I also 
find it easy to relate to students of working class 
origins. I know what it feels like to be the first 
person in your family to attend college, to have to 
work one's way through school, to juggle a job 
and academics and to be in a place where most 
people have more money than you do. I also know 
that often education is the only option open to 
someone to move up and out of her class origins. 
With this comes a certain guilt and concern about 
not fitting in anywhere and feeling alienated and 
alone - feeling like an outsider. I can relate to this 
alienation and yet also the feeling of wonder about 
being in such a wonderful atmosphere, with so 
much freedom. Academia is also a place to accom- 
plish, often for the first time, for a working class 
student. I understand the pleasure and yet the fear 
that comes of being in such a place. For these 
reasons, I appreciate and can relate well to my 
students of similar class origins. 

I also believe that because of my class I am able to 
relate well to students of other racial backgrounds 
than my own. Although I do not know what it is 
like to be African- American or Hispanic or Asian, 



I do understand being an outsider. I am sensitive 
to racial issues, perhaps because my field is social 
work and sociology; but also because I was 
brought up a woman and working class, I suppose 
I was inclined to gravitate toward these fields to 
begin with. I understand oppression because I 
have experienced it first hand. I know what it is 
like to be discriminated against, maybe not to the 
extent that racial minorities have experienced it, 
but certainly to the extent of having an apprecia- 
tion for some of the difficulties encountered. Black 
students have often sought me out for advice and 
counsel for the handling of problematic racial 
interactions and situations. 

Perhaps my greatest difficulty with being in 
academia comes from within myself. I have al- 
ways felt that I do not belong. I feel as if I am an 
imposter, a fraud and someone who will one day 
be found out. I now have two masters, a Ph.D. and 
tenure, many published articles and a book, and I 
still feel as if one day it will all be taken away and 
I will once again be that little nobody from Lynn, 
Massachusetts. I remember thinking, as a child, 
that I would get the credentials so that my opinion 
would be listened to and respected. That has now 
happened and I still feel inconsequential. My 
relationship with the administration of my college 
is actually quite good. I am given grants for 
research, outstanding teaching awards, positions 
on important committees. And yet I feel as if I 
don't belong. I feel that my style of speaking is too 
casual and direct, my dress too informal, my work 
too marginal. Somehow, all those years of work 
and achievement still leave me on the outside 
looking in. I wonder what it is that I must do or be 
to be on the inside. Of course now I realize that I 
will never feel myself an insider. In fact I am as 
"in" as one might ever be. I am respected by my 
colleagues and the administration. It is no longer 
them that I must impress. It is now time to work 
on myself, to feel a part of things, finally after all 
these years. There are no more kudos to obtain to 
gain respectability. I have met the enemy and 
now, in fact, the enemy is me. 

In thinking about whether or not I would do this 
again, I would answer with a resounding "yes." 1 
never, in my whole life, aspired to be a college 
professor. It just happened. I kept going to school 
because it made me feel good about myself and 
because I love learning and studying. Along the 
way jobs came along that led me to this path. Now 



13 



here I am with a life-long profession that affords 
me the money and time to live a life style that I 
enjoy, with colleagues I respect and doing a job 
that I feel is socially and politically redeemable. I 
feel that as a college professor and author I have a 
wonderful opportunity to make the kind of social 
change, attitudinally, that will have long-lasting 
effects. I am actually proud of what it is that I do 
and how I do it. I might be an "outsider on the 
inside" but I like the inside and maybe I won't 
always be the outsider. Until that time, I'll just 
truck on and keep on doing what I love to do. 



Elaine Leeder is a working-class woman by family of origin 
who is now teaching at Ithaca College to children of wealth 
and privilege. Because of this background, she acknowledges 
that she often feels like an outsider. A lesbian, an academic 
and a mother, Elaine is also a single woman raising a child 
alone. "I hope that qualifies me as a non-traditional 
woman. ..it sure feels that way to me!" she concludes. 



KEYS TO CARING 

by Robert ]. Kus, R.N., Ph.D., ed. 

Gay and lesbian clients have special 
needs that often go unnoticed by health 
professionals. This collection of thirty-one 
essays offers informed advice to health 
care and other professionals about how 
they can better serve their gay and lesbian 
clients. Dr. Robert J. Kus, a nurse- 
sociologist and an associate professor at 
The University of Iowa, has selected es- 
says by gay people 
who are experts in a 
variety of health- 
care related fields. 
Topics explored in- 
clude homophobia, 
body image, parent- 
ing, AIDS, coming 
out, spirituality, and 
legal issues. 



I 



ISBN 0-932870-86-4 

$12.95, trade paper 

345 pages 



J 



b 



iranrais 




14 



bJ 



CROSSING THE MAINSTREAM 
Debora Horning 



As I cross the mainstream to explore my lesbian 
dimensions, I am surprised that I recognize much 
of the landscape on the opposite shore. Haven't I 
lived for years in the mainstream? Didn't I grow 
up white, heterosexual, privileged, in a middle- 
class nuclear family? What needs or desires could 
divert me from the common course? 

As a young girl, I tried to achieve the freedom I 
perceived boys to have. What better way than to 
compete in the spheres they claimed? I climbed 
trees and roamed railroad tracks. I played basket- 
ball, football, and kickball. I hammered scrap 
lumber into a club house. I chose active heroes to 
emulate: Kit Carson, the Lone Ranger, and Super- 
man. 

To find a world I really wanted, I turned to books. 
I longed for the adventures of Nancy Drew, for the 
responsibility to act according to conscience like 
Lois Lenski's young characters, and for a chance to 
improve society, as did Dorothea Dix, Jane 
Addams, and other women I read about in bio- 
graphical novels. All these women carved out 
their own roles, not retreating to the passive ones 
reserved for the Jane and Sally of my first grade 
reading book. 

During high school, I threw myself into activities 
which interested me. I played saxophone and pipe 
organ, led church youth group activities, babysat 
to earn money for college, and plunged into my 
studies. My romantic interests were primarily 
crushes on older men and women who were as 
exciting as I wished to be. I seldom dated, for I 
was tall, studious, and athletic, and thus viewed as 
inaccessible and unfeminine. My brief fling with a 
classmate was exemplified by my refusal to kiss 
him, as I was saving this favor for the man I would 
marry. 

Before I met this mythical husband, I went to 
college where I was drawn from the mainstream 
by my discovery of the joys of friendship and 
honest communication. Sarah was a "free spirit" 



whose enthusiasm for people and for life infected 
me, drawing me to her. With her I explored my 
philosophies and my understanding of self. With 
her I laughed and cried, shared my crushes on 
unsuspecting males, and gained my first "best 
friend." We roamed the campus, arm in arm, 
oblivious to any alternative lifestyles. We enjoyed 
being together. For us, that was enough to validate 
our behavior. 

It is no surprise that I chose to marry a man who 
would necessitate untraditional roles for me. The 
fact that Fred was a post-polio quadriplegic 
confined to a wheelchair was a plus, for it insured 
that we could determine our own course. What- 
ever we chose to do would be understood as 
necessary. Fred would do what he could; I would 
do the rest. This assumption underlay the twenty- 
three years we lived outside prescribed male/ 
female roles while we enjoyed the umbrella of 
socially sanctioned heterosexual coupling. 

Together we drifted in and out of the mainstream. 
I learned to share the frustrations of discrimina- 
tion and insensitivity that were part of his daily 
life. I experienced both invisibility and hyper- 
visibility, as we were subjected to curiosity and 
disapproval. I encountered the stares of strangers, 
children's questions about the wheelchair, and the 
disregard of those who were uncomfortable with 
difference. Getting around physical barriers 
became a daily challenge for both of us, as I 
shoveled paths through snow on city streets and 
scouted accessible entrances to public buildings. 
Because Fred needed me to be his hands, I learned 
to do physical tasks that I still enjoy and that 
empower me. I maintained a home and garden, 
laid cement, and learned basic carpentry, plumb- 
ing and electrical wiring. Finding ways around 
life's hurdles, both physical and social, engaged 
my energy and imagination. 

We developed a lifestyle of our choosing. Decid- 
ing not to have children put us further out of the 
mainstream. We also swam across the current as 
we opposed the war in Vietnam, chose our friends 
irrespective of race or sexual orientation, partici- 
pated in the War Against Poverty, and took active 
roles in the Women's Movement. 

When Fred died, I was on my own for the first 
time in my life at age 42. I was ill equipped to be a 



15 



"good" wife to another husband. I wanted no 
children, I valued my career, and I had ventured 
far into the realm of self-sufficiency. Little did I 
realize then how much of my life had been spent 
outside the mainstream. Little did I realize that 
outside was where I wished to be. 

I spent the following year doing what I wanted to 
do, not heeding prescribed behaviors. Seeking 
comfort, I explored solitude, finding May Sarton's 
books a useful guide. I traveled, made new 
friends, and renewed old friendships. I poured 
myself into writing: journals, poems, letters. One 
letter bore me away from the River Styx when it 
resulted in my visit to a friend of many years. 
Though we had not seen each other for twelve 
years, the deep needs for comfort and support we 
each carried to our reunion swirled us into a 
current of intimacy which took me to the lesbian 
shore, where I know I belong. 

My first hurdle was to face my internalized homo- 
phobia. I had to reconcile my initial experiences in 
sexual intimacy with a woman with my long-held 
self-concepts. I clung to the bisexual label for 
several months, as I investigated the implications 
of renaming myself. During this time, I tended a 
friend dying of AIDS, whose secrecy about his life 
and his disease left him nearly alone at his death. 
After witnessing the ramifications of his fully 
closeted life, I knew I wanted to claim my identity. 

Was I a lesbian? I had to know. Jill and I, sepa- 
rated by six hundred miles, wrote long, searching 
letters to each other. We phoned frequently, she 
drove to visit me in Indiana, and I spent my 
vacations with her in North Carolina. I ventured 
into more women's places and women's events 
such as concerts, poetry readings, and conferences, 
where I sought new connections and insight into 
lesbian life. Readings in feminist theory, participa- 
tion in a poetry group with strong women, and 
attending conferences which addressed relevant 
issues helped me to understand my own lesbian- 
ism, my rejection of patriarchy, and my commit- 
ment to other women. 

With my rejection of patriarchal mores, I found it 
easier to follow rules of the heart, rather than rules 
of law. I began to feel true to myself as I forged 
stronger bonds with Jill and established relation- 
ships with her two adolescent daughters. Feminist 
values helped me grow out of grief, just as they 
enabled her to leave a repressive marriage of 



twenty-eight years duration. Each of us is now 
working to find her own voice as we write poems, 
letters, and stories. Our commitment is to creating 
and sharing life-enhancing experiences. 

Working out the practical details of a lesbian 
relationship entails removing myself from the 
mainstream in several ways. I am taking a leave 
from a job I held for twenty-five years, as well as 
from my home and community, to explore my 
identity and to be with my partner. I am working 
to expand my community to include lesbian 
friends, for I need their help in coming to terms 
with my own identity. I am assuming constantly 
shifting roles with my partner, to allow each of us 
the freedom to expand our potential. I am choos- 
ing to deal with homophobia and invisibility 
rather than to deny myself. I have found a friend, 
a mate who allows me freedom to be who I am, 
who shares my interest in playing and working, 
and who places a premium on communication 
and growth. These cross currents provide an 
exciting environment, one I am unwilling to 
relinquish. 

It seems impossible to cross the mainstream 
without spending some time in the midst of it. I 
found myself there through birth, upbringing, 
education, career, and marriage. My discomfort in 
the mainstream is evidenced by my frequent 
efforts to escape to self-defined roles, unprescribed 
actions, and nontraditional relationships. 

Why do I cross to different landscapes? My need 
for intimacy, for independence, and for integrity 
propel me again and again out of the mainstream. 
I found the opposite shore a good place to be. 



Debora B. Horning has only recently realized how much of 
her life has been outside the mainstream. Her husband was a 
quadriplegic; neither of the partners in this relationship 
attempted to fill typical male/female roles. His death after 
twenty years of marriage sent her searching for an intimacy 
which she has found with her lesbian partner, a friend of 
twenty years. Behind their partnership lie "volumes of 
letters, expensive phone bills, and as many visits as we could 
manage." Debora is currently spending a year writing short 
stories. 



16 



H 

SISTER JEROME 

from the "Loretto Academy for Girls" series 

Nancy Seale Osborne 



i? 



Every school afternoon the Candy Store opened at 
4:15 p. m. sharp. The convent's cold basement 
warmed up gradually as the bare bulbs lit the 
dancing space between jitterbugging bodies. It got 
even warmer when the 45 rpm records signalled a 
"slow dance." That's where I learned to lead, and 
to this day, I find it difficult to slow dance with 
someone who tries to lead me or who won't follow 
my lead. There's probably some big feminist 
philosophical biases to be explored here. 

We were very good at the body-pasted-together, 
dip-the-follower-over-backward part of slow 
dancing, and we danced best of all the jitterbug 
fling, where the "leader" swung the other girl 
under her outstretched legs. It wasn't too easy to 
do, with all of us wearing the navy blue gabardine 
skirts of our uniform, but we didn't mind getting 
dust on the back of them, even though we knew in 
our hearts it showed a certain blatant disrespect 
toward some unnamed convent code. It even 
made us warm enough to take off our navy blue 



wool tarns and loosen the navy blue grosgrain ties 
from the starched peter pan collar blouses. 

One other dance we got fired up about was the 
rhumba, or the samba; I never knew the difference 
between the two, since Fred Astaire's style was 
never really a knowledgeable part of our dance 
patterns. To this day, though, I am able to fake 
that dance pretty well. However, my Brazilian 
friend Maria Helena says that to dance a true 
samba, one must put her finger in her navel, stand 
in front of a mirror, and gyrate twenty-minutes 
while watching herself, without getting embar- 
rassed. If one can do these three things, one is 
ready to do it in public, with clothes on, she 
assures me. 

Two of the best dancers were Carmelita and 
Josephina, who were sisters. They were headed 
without question to the convent after graduation. 
Somehow I thought it would be a great loss to the 
world, because I thought they should both be on 
the stage and screen. During the school day they 
were both very serious, Carmelita in a sweet, 
sincere way, and Josephina with a stem approach 
especially to the world of the intellect. When we 
studied Don Quixote, Josephina could elucidate the 
character's feelings so well, I believed I knew the 
main character as either a brother or an alter ego. 

Carmelita's chemistry grades were topnotch. 
When she and I vied for president of the senior 
class, and I won the election, she was chosen by 
the nuns to be president anyway, because I was a 
non-Catholic. I was also elected to Girls' State, but 
was unable to represent Loretto because of my 
religious status, or the lack thereof. Once I 
brought home a rosary and a missal (clutched 
during the 5:30 a. m. Masses each morning — I 
loved Latin, and still do); my father swore that no 
child of his would become a Papist. So, "convert- 
ing" was simply never a part of the picture for me. 

Sister Jerome was in charge of the Candy Store, 
and it was to Sister Jerome that we brought all our 
questions about important things in our lives. Her 
appearance was something like that of The Flying 
Nun, with huge feet planted firmly on the ground. 
The twice-pointed white starched headdress worn 
by the Sisters of her order, was always askew, and 
tiny wisps of fugitive, recalcitrant hair flew about 
her face as she ran about or talked with her huge 



17 



gesturing hands. She was probably the only one 
who would allow us to cluster about the phono- 
graph to listen to Johnny Ray sing "Cry," becom- 
ing silent as he let out a quiet little sigh, which 
inevitably drove us to screams. She was the only 
one who allowed us to ask her questions about 
that sacred and sacrosanct subject, "Boys." She 
answered our questions and suffered our observa- 
tions with an honest and refreshing humor. I 
doubt that we ever asked her anything about real 
"necking," which was probably the extent of most 
of our experiences, and certainly we never spoke 
of the Great, Unspeakable "Down There." 

I had a running debate with Sister Jerome about 
why I was required to learn Geometry, which she 
taught with such loving care that only an imbecile 
would fail to love it. No matter what profession I 
would indicate for my future, she had some retort, 
right to the point, about why geometry would 
make all the difference in my success or failure. In 
addition to reaching into the future, she was able 
to get us to look back over our shoulders into the 
history of geometry; we came to believe with a 



degree of certainty that Euclid had probably been 
her next-door neighbor when she was growing up. 
When she taught geometry, she covered every 
square inch of the blackboard with frantic, explicit 
chalk marks, pausing to wipe her brow, twirl her 
rosary beads, or adjust her headdress. Chalk flew 
everywhere, to the extent that, at the end of class, 
her formerly black habit was, in places, a gentle 
dove grey. 

We clustered around her desk to show her our 
assignments, to get into a good argument, or to 
beg her not to make the homework so long, just 
for this time, "Please oh, please, Sister Jerome?" 



Nancy Seale Osborne, co-Guest Editor of the "Crossing the 
Mainstream" issue of The Creative Woman, is a librarian, 
archivist, mother, grandmother, poet and writer. If you ever 
find a bumper sticker which says, "I'd rather be canoeing," 
please buy it for her. She and Barbara Gerber put their 
families together when their children were ages eleven, 
twelve and twelve (three children). Now there are three 
grandsons: two Daniels and one Steven. There are also three 
canoes: aluminum, kevlar, and cedar strip. 



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18 



Five Per son a l 



THE HISTORY OF SNAKES 



Greta Gaard 

As far back as I can remember, I have dreamed of 
snakes. 

The dreams began when I graduated from the 
crib to the twin bed. My tiny body curled up at 
the top of the mattress, far from the dangerous 
edges of the space beyond the bed, far from the 
wilderness of the bottom of the bed. The blankets 
formed a protective covering beneath which I 
was safe. Each night before falling asleep, I kept 
careful watch over the vast regions of space, the 
night light transforming my bedroom furniture 
into eerie and mysterious shapes, casting shadows 
of weird and grotesque figures onto the walls and 
corners of walls. (The monsters cannot move if 
you watch carefully.) 

Beneath the box springs of my bed lurked the very 
darkness of the pit, and within those shadows lay 
the snakes. I knew that if I were to dangle an 
unwary arm or leg beyond the safety of the mat- 
tress, a snake would spring up and sink its fangs 
into my chubby flesh, possibly dragging my entire 
body beneath the bed, never to be seen or heard 
from again. My parents, stalking in the illumi- 
nated adult regions of house beyond my closed 
bedroom door (the light from the hallway shining 
beneath the door showing the shadows of their 
footsteps as they passed up and down the hall- 
way) — my parents would never hear my screams. 
I would be swallowed by the serpents, whole, like 
a furry rodent. 

Some nights the threat of this certain and unfore- 
seeable annihilation would drive me deep beneath 
the covers — so deep that I was trapped — the 
blankets tucked in at all four corners — and I 
would finally succeed in waking mother with my 
cries. From beneath the covers of darkness I would 
see the rescuing glow of her flashlight against the 
blankets, and then one end of the covers, which 
had previously resisted my attempts at escape, 
would open magically, and I would emerge into 
the safety of my mother in her pajamas, her 
flashlight's beam a sword of light, cutting me 
loose from snakey dreams. 




As my legs grew into the length of the bed, I 
began to devise a plan for countering the attacks. I 
learned to keep a flashlight of my own concealed 
in the bedframe, resting beside the slats of the box 
springs. I reasoned, if these were dreamsnakes, 
they could be executed with dreamweapons. And 
I created an imaginary dreamscissors, whose long 
blades extended to the ends of the mattress. Now, 
when the multitudes of snakes jumped up in 
unison from beneath the bed, I cut off their heads 
with one snip of my dreamscissors. But there were 
always more snakes. In the mornings, I half 
expected to find their dismembered corpses 
strewn about my bedroom floor. But I knew that 
while I slept, more snakes came out to carry off the 
remains of their companions, and to bury them 
deep beneath the bed. 

With the passing years, the snake dreams receded, 
visiting me only occasionally. Yet even the lovers 
with whom I came to share my bed could offer me 
no protection from the snakes, and on the nights 
when I would wake screaming, they could only 
pull me closer to the sleepy warmth of their 
breasts, listen to my retelling of the dreams, then 
fall back into unconsciousness while I lay awake 
in fear. Only with the first light of morning could I 
fall back asleep, safe, exhausted. 

Though I couldn't bear to see a live one, I read 
everything I could about snakes — memorized 
their shapes and colors, their slanted pupils, their 
forked tongues. The common lore of the 
unenlightened told me that the serpent repre- 
sented the phallus; that what I reallv feared was 
not snakes but heterosexuality. So at the age ot 
twenty-one, I left behind the women who had 

19 



comforted me for five years, and went in search of 
a man whose presence would protect me from the 
snakes. 

For the first and only time in my snakey dreams, I 
was bitten. 

The dream came less than a month after the man, 
and I remember it vividly: 

/ am riding horseback on the desert with a man. He is 
the guide; he is very experienced with riding on this 
desert and knows it quite well. The desert is dry and 
there are tumbleweeds, mountains, and a sloping 
valley. We follow a path he seems to know. 

We see a snake: it is brightly colored and still. I do not 
dismount but the man does, and he approaches the 
snake, then returns and mounts again. We ride on. 

Then there is another snake by our path. It too is 
brightly colored, but this snake moves around, watch- 
ing us. The dream speeds up. 

I have dismounted and am sitting on the ground in 
some shade beside short scrubby bushes that are grow- 
ing. The man has also dismounted and is doing some- 
thing with the harness of his horse. Then I see the 
snake. 

It is brightly colored: red hexagons on a black back- 
ground, with yellow circles. It sees me, and approaches. 
My judgment tells me to sit still and not provoke it. 
Perhaps it will go away. I sit very still but the snake 
winds toward me, without any provocation — comes 
right up to me — I am afraid — and suddenly it strikes, 
sinking its fangs deep into my hand. It holds on, its 
fangs in my flesh, then withdraws and lies still, finally 
recoiling. I pull my hand back and see it is bloody and 
throbbing and painful. The man is by the horse. 

And then they are gone. For six years I am with 
this man and I do not dream of snakes. 

When the relationship ends, I meet a woman 
whose hair and eyes tell me I have known her 
before, and together we join a women's meditation 
group. There, the shaman asks me about my 
dreams, and for the first time in many years, I 
speak again of snakes. And here I learn a different 
story: that long before the advent of Christianity, 
or Freud, snakes symbolized women's energy, 
women's erotic powers. The Fall from the Garden 
is retold in a different light. Instead of running 
from the snakes in fear, the shaman tells me, I 
should turn to them and ask a question: what do 



you have to give me? And after six years, I dream 
again: 

On a desert of white sands, I am walking with my arms 
around this woman-I-have-known-before. Together we 
enter a huge building shaped of white sand, without 
doors or windows. Brilliant white light streams in 
through openings; we walk on. All around us we hear 
the shaking tails of rattlesnakes, like rushing winds on 
white sands. We walk on and vanish into the brightness 
of light. 

Later, the woman-I-have-known-before leaves for 
Africa, land of the cobra, and I do not see her for 
many years. She has given me what I needed; I let 
her go. 

On Mother's Day, I travel to the northwoods of 
Minnesota, and sit down in the spring grass to 
wait. And when at last I hear the rustling at my 
side, I am prepared for what I will see, in actuality, 
for the first time in my life: sitting beside me in 
sunlight, the slinky, sinuous, striped figure from 
my dreams. 



Greta Gaard likes her piece "because it is right for women to 
reclaim our spirituality, interpreting our dreams in terms of 
our own lives and our own sexuality." She was given 
"permission" to tell her story after reading a special issue of 
Woman of Power. Our readers will remember her short story, 
"Sisterhood," Vol. 10, No. 1, Fall, 1989. 



20 




NOTCOR A PASSING MINUTi 



and the night once again exists, 



GUILT BY ASSOCIATION 



At a local taco stand 

I run into a co-worker from the plant 

Among current gossip is news of your suicide. 

Details buzz through me: 

Bad problems with alcohol, wives, lost job. 

It's the shift work 

two weeks off a year 

like being on a chain gang. 

We were all lifers. 

Time away from the job 

spent preparing and recovering for work. 

My leaving the plant 

is proof of my traitor status. 

Teaching job, book, PhD 

While I quietly observe the passage of 

what became of who I was 

what became of you. 

Donna Langston 



no longer merely tagging along after the day- 

I tremor at your kiss driven into me 

and out again through my lips 

while my hand widens its circumference around 

your hips. 

My fingers become transparent in the dark 

fixed in the singleness of your breathing. 

We live fully now in the night air 

falling more in love by daybreak. 

Lay here with me, let the sun find us together. 

Rest next to me, not for a passing minute only. 

Donna Langston 



Donna Langston is a working class lesbian mother who lives 
with her partner between two cultures: the United States and 
Central America. They have attempted to create a bi-cultural, 
bilingual home for their four children: quite a challenge! 
Donna has worked a variety of jobs: clerical, factory, and 
electrician's assistant. She is currently Associate Professor of 
Women's Studies. The author of a book of poetry, she co- 
edited the groundbreaking anthology Changing Our Power: 
An Introduction to Women's Studies. 



21 



ARTIST'S STATEMENT 



CATHY CADE 



These photographs are selected from my book A 
Lesbian Photo Album: The Lives of Seven Lesbian 
Feminists, self published in 1987 by Waterwoman 
Books. The book consists of photographs each 
lesbian had from her growing up and those photos 
I took of her at middle-age. Each woman also tells 
stories about her life. 

In a feminist tradition, I included photos and 
stories of myself, both to understand what I was 
asking of the other participants and so that the 
reader could learn something about the person 
who was editing and shaping the images and text. 

I began photographing twenty years ago as part of 
the early Women's Liberation Movement, in a 
traditional, black and white, documentary style. 
My aim was simply to celebrate women and 
lesbians and make us visible. 

I have on-going projects, photographing lesbians 
in the annual Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day 
Parades in San Francisco and photographing 
lesbian mothering. 

Recently, I've begun "taking more liberties" with 
my images: creating collages and hand coloring 
with oils. It took me almost twenty years, but I've 
embraced the identity of artist. I meet with other 
artists to give counseling and support and try to 
articulate what happens to us as women artists in 
this society. 

Cathy Cade lives in Oakland, California with her two sons - 
not from a previous marriage. Her most recent job was 
teaching photography in two high schools as part of a 
California Arts Council, Artist in the School Grant. 




Ann, 1981 




Stella and Ina. 
"Sometimes it feels like 
Ina has made me forget 
all the other lovers I've 
ever had, because she is 
really something 
fantastic." (1982) 



22 



CATHY CADE 



PHOTOGRAPHER 




Jill. Friends from my 
disabled lesbians group. 

saying, "Wait for 
me", Cary's telling 
Nancy, who*s blind, 
where we're going. 
We're loud; \vc take up 
a lot of room. (1982). 



23 



PHOTOGRAPHER 



CATHY CADE 




Bobbi, Ann, Loren, (1982). 



Cathy Cade, (1981). 




24 



CATHY CADE 



PHOTOGRAPHER 



Jill, (1982). 





Jcri. Brunch with a 
friend. I most enjoy 
socializing over food. 
It's important to me to 
have good friends who 
like me just the way I 
am... (1982). 



25 



PHOTOSTORIES 



SHERRY KROMER SHAPIRO 



The first film I made was in the late sixties and it 
received honorable mention. That night I decided 
to stop painting and become a film maker. Shortly 
thereafter, I heard the word "lesbian" for the first 
time while at a feminist rally. I was thirty years 
old. Once I made love with a women I never made 
love with a man again. In 1980, at an International 
Woman's Conference, in Norway, I hiked to the 
top of a waterfall with my lover. I lay down, 
removed my top, heard the water gushing and lost 
all sense of myself. It was an out-of-body experi- 
ence, an Epiphany. I was united with the waterfall, 
with the world. My sense of myself as an artist has 
evolved from these three experiences. 

Being an experimental film maker is similar to 
being a lesbian. Neither pursuit is supported by 
the dominant tradition. In my thirties, I gave my 
energy to women. At forty-seven, I've become 
skeptical about successful long term relationships. 
Now all my energies are directed towards being 
on the cutting edge of making innovative art. I am 
committed to advancing the genre of film as an art 
form. It is important to me that people know my 
name. In the past, Anonymous was the name of an 
artist, now Barbara Hammer is. Hopefully, my 
films and my name will live beyond me. 

Barbara Hammer 








26 



SHERRY KROMER SHAPIRO 



PHOTOSTORIES 




At the age of thirty-one, I slid down into the dark 
cavern of my mind. There was no voice to say, 
"This is a journey and I, the Goddess connected to 
my own power, will validate your struggle. You 
will come out the other end." 

The roles I played no longer made sense. On the 
outside I was an American housewife, on the 



inside I was Irish, an artist and a lesbian. As an 
Irish Catholic, the lesbian connotations were filthy 
and horrifying. All the things I was raised to be 
and the person I was becoming were opposites. I 
couldn't turn to the church and psychiatry didn't 
provide spiritual food. I had no vocabulary to deal 
with mv breakdown, so I started mv own ABC's. 



27 




HOW READING MAYA ANGELOU 
CHANGED MY LIFE 

Patricia Williams 

When I left home I decided I would never read a 
book again. I thought all white people were crazy 
and since they wrote the only books I'd ever seen, 
it made sense to leave it all behind. 
There was nowhere to go, but I had escaped my 
childhood home and was free; I believed I could 
live on that emotion forever. And I discovered that 
forever lasts about twenty-four hours when you 
are homeless. 

No matter: within months I was pregnant and 
married. It took some time but no more than three 
years slid by when I discovered I could no longer 
live within my own walls. I needed another's voice 
to soothe this achin' heart of mine and Maya 
Angelou appeared via, J Know Why the Caged Bird 



Sings. "Ah, perfect!" I said to myself, scared 
shitless that I might really be opening doors. But 
there was nowhere else to go and nothing to lose. 
So, I sat reading her story, which became my 
story. A womynstory. I began to long for a univer- 
sal language and trust its impulses. Womyn's 
writing thrusts herself again and again in places 
men could never enter. 

I was home. 

I was giving up my fears to womyn's wisdom; my 
family for the sisterhood; victimization to femi- 
nism and my wildest dreams to lesbianism. 

I looked into womyn's lives and learned how to 
live my own. Heard womyn's laughter and cried; 
felt womyn's suffering and found joy; womyn's 
poverty and knew I had become enriched forever. 

A boundless energy. We are as one. A stick of 
dynamite together. Is it any wonder the world 
despises us? Is it any wonder we will love it all the 
more and rise? 



28 





REVIEW ESSAY 





OUR STORIES, OURSELVES 
LESBIAN FICTION BUILDING 
COMMUNITY 

Joyce Cote 



In a sense, then, lesbian myths and stories are no 
more"true" than the old patriarchal literature. But 
and this is a crucial point - they do serve lesbians 
better. 

Bonnie Zimmerman 

The Safe Sea of Women 



In Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Hardy suggests that 
perhaps Tess's vulnerability and naivete could 
have been remedied if she had read novels. The 
implication is that fiction may offer real life direc- 
tion and to close oneself off from the world of 
fiction is to also close oneself off from an ex- 
panded life view. If Hardy's intent is to say that 
the 18th and 19th Century British novel could 
serve women well in helping them understand 
heterosexual interactions, Bonnie Zimmerman 
echoes this sentiment with regard to lesbians and 
our interactions with each other. 

Zimmerman's comprehensive study of lesbian 
fiction from 1969 to 1989 not only provides literary 
analyses of a variety of novels, short stories and 
memoirs, but further, concludes that lesbian 
fiction explores and influences both individual 
lesbians and the larger lesbian community. Be- 
yond that, however, her work reminds us that a 
relatively large (and quickly growing) body of 
literature by and about lesbians has emerged in 
the last twenty years. Yet, for those of us who 
have been passionately consuming it all along, it's 
still not enough. 

The women in Judith McDaniel's new novel Just 
Say Yes (1991) are disappointed that the slow 
trickle of lesbian romances doesn't provide them 
with enough summer reading material. "There 
were only a few dozen new romances a year, and 
once you'd read all the reprints of the dyke novels 
from the forties and fifties, well, what was a girl to 



do?" The answer one of the women comes up 
with is a revival of Harlequin Romances with 
pronoun changes, an effort that doesn't always 
quite work and reeks of "political incorrectness." 
Yet, despite the hilarity of this alternative as 
presented by McDaniel, it is not so far from the 
reality that lesbians faced two decades ago. Lesbi- 
ans, like other sub-groups of the dominant culture 
had two choices: either forget about reading all 
together, or change the details to fit the pattern of 
our own lives. Lesbians looking for reflections of 
ourselves in fiction today, however, can find a 
wide assortment of novels and short stories. Still 
not enough perhaps, but certainly more. 

Today, lesbians are reading and writing fiction in 
rapidly expanding numbers. And even though 
these books aren't sitting on the supermarket 
display beside the latest "heterosexual" romances, 
they are available at women's and alternative 
bookstores or by mail order from presses such as 
Naiad, Firebrand, Spinsters/aunf lute, and 
Silverleaf among others. In the rush to satisfy 
waiting readers, perhaps the new lesbian fiction is 
not always of the highest quality. Nevertheless, it 
is being read and affecting its readers. Also, it is 
maturing rapidly, going through puberty with a 
roar and boldly challenging pre-sixties models of 
lesbian novels. 

Unlike early 20th Century images of masculinized, 
victimized and/or doomed lesbians in fiction - 
perhaps the most memorable being Stephen 
Gordon in Radcliffe Hall's enduring Well of Loneli- 
ness - more recent lesbian fiction grows out of a 
place of well-ness rather than from the dreary 
depths Hall creates for her main characters to slip 
into. Beginning with Jane Rule's classic, Desert of 
the Heart and Isabelle Miller's (a pseudonym for 
Alma Routsong) Patience and Sarah (originally 
titled A Place for Us) in 1969, images of women 
loving women emotionally and sexually have 
recurred in more positive ways. 

Rather than overemphasizing the "deviant" 
woman preying on the innocent younger woman, 
or continually focusing on the trials and tribula- 
tions of coming to terms with one's sexuality, 
fiction written by and about lesbians, particularly 
during the last decade, begins from a place of 



29 



acceptance and belonging. Women who already 
identify as lesbians are meeting and interacting 
with other lesbians. While coming out issues and 
homophobia - particularly internalized 
homophobia - are still present, they are only one 
part of a much more diverse set of situations and 
conflicts which lesbians, individually and as part 
of a larger community, struggle with today. 
Racism, for example. Or economic inequality. 

It should also be noted that not all lesbian fiction is 
embraced by all lesbians. We are hungry but not 
starved to the point of desperation after all. There 
are some subjects, primarily issues of sadomasoch- 
ism that do not suit every lesbian's taste. But 
hasn't a queasy feeling about the more sordid side 
of human existence always been problematic for 
some readers especially coming from a female 
pen? Think of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights 
for example, and what Ellen Moers has referred to 
as "the perverse aspects of the novel" and "accep- 
tance of the cruel as normal, almost an invigorat- 
ing component of human life." (Literary Women ) 

Like other women, lesbians are not always sweet, 
kind, caring, nurturant sisters in the struggle, a 
sad fact already accepted by feminists who have 
found that even the most well intentioned Utopias 
fall short of the ideal model. 

Despite its often self-conscious attempts to avoid 
any part of lesbian life that might be misconstrued 
of misunderstood (ie. "politically incorrect") 
lesbian fiction at its best shows all the ways a 
lesbian can be. Issues of power and control inevi- 
tably emerge in the midst of a world always 
threatening - and sometimes succeeding - to take 
them away. 

When Edie makes love to one woman after an- 
other in the back of her pick-up truck, in Look 
Under the Hawthorn (1987) by Ellen Frye, she 
concludes that "being in control again felt 
goddamn good... Their screams of pleasure made 
her feel powerful and telling them when to go did, 
too." In High Contrast (1988) by Jessie Lattimore, 
Nikki, a stripper finds her job invigorating and 
empowering. Her lover, Carol, is appalled by this 
discovery and Nikki attempts an explanation: "...I 
had to turn the tables on them if I was going to 
make it. I wanted them screaming, howling for 
me. And when they reached for me, I turned my 
back on them. I controlled them." 



Issues of power and control often take on a sexual 
aspect but at the core of this struggle is the fact 
that lesbians must face an ongoing threat to then- 
existence, their visibility and their ability to make 
life choices. As women who choose to make their 
primary commitments to other women rather than 
men, lesbians are simultaneously at (at least) a 
double-disadvantage in a culture that privileges 
men. For lesbians of color, who are physically 
challenged, poor, etcetera, the threat to personal 
integrity and freedom to make life choices is even 
more seriously threatened. 

In Lee Lynch's Dusty' s Queen of Hearts Diner 
(1987), a story rooted in working class reality, Elly 
is elated when the diner she long dreamed of 
managing opens because now, "this [diner] was 
her world, and with Dusty she controlled it." But 
as Elly and Dusty eventually realize, their hold on 
something they call control is tenuous at best. 
When a street gang vandalizes and nearly burns 
down the diner, they must come to terms with 
violence directed toward them because they are 
different. Eventually, they also understand the 
places where diversities intersect. "Oh, man," 
says Hernando, the dishwasher for the diner 
working his way through college, "You're gay, I'm 
Puerto Rican, Grace is blind - everybody's differ- 
ent, Dusty. Do you really think one different is 
worse than another?" 

To be or not to be a lesbian is no longer the only 
question in lesbian fiction. How to live in a hostile 
world as a lesbian , as a member of a group defined 
as a minority, becomes more of the issue. Violence 
against people of difference, including lesbians, is 
a reality that is reflected in the stories we write 
about ourselves. Carole is nearly killed by a man 
outside of the club where Nikki works and a street 
gang terrorizes Elly and Dusty. Like the murders 
of gay men in Just Say Yes , violence against lesbi- 
ans and gay men is a reality. That one of the 
murdered men is Latino further complicates the 
situation. Ultimately, the realities we live with are 
reflected in the stories we read and write. As 
McDaniel concludes, though we yearn for the 
traditional happy ending, it may not be possible. 
"Maybe that is one of the problems with writing 
gay and lesbian romances," the narrator of Just Say 
Yes concludes. "It's harder to kid ourselves that 
we live in a benign world, a world that wishes us 
well. " 



30 



Yet, in spite of itself, lesbian fiction can't seem to 
avoid the happiest ending possible. Even Lindsey, 
in Just Say Yes, finally finds herself blissfully 
lovemaking with Carol after a week of uncertainty 
and a courtship drawn out by painful circum- 
stances. Afterwards, they fall asleep and when 
Lindsey is awakened suddenly, she realizes that 
she has been dreaming of "a cottage with a white 
picket fence, goddess help me. " 

At the same time as it self-consciously speaks to 
the reality of gay and lesbian existence in the 
midst of racism and violence, even this novel finds 
it difficult to avoid pre-established literary pat- 
terns. However, the happy ending of lesbian 
romance depends upon an alternative cultural 
experience in a community that exists despite the 
dominant culture's attempt to silence and/ or 
make us invisible. 

At the end of Lee Lynch's Toothpick House, Annie 
and Victoria metaphorically seal their commit- 
ment with a kiss - hardly a new concept - and the 
moon looks "like a big pot of glue," a female 
symbol of something larger than themselves that 
will help to hold them together - namely the 
community of lesbians acting in an almost spiri- 
tual capacity. 

The intensity of the lesbian community, the joy of 
being surrounded by other lesbians is a continu- 
ally surfacing theme in lesbian fiction, often 
incorporated into an ending that is positive if not 
perfectly happy. Whether it is at a bar, a beach or 
a conference, these spaces and the women who 
meet there, become the something beyond the 
individual, or the lovers, that makes their exist- 
ence cohesive in itself and connected to a reality 
that exists beyond the "heteroreality" - to borrow 
Janice Raymond's term - that the straight world 
has constructed. 

To add another level to the spaces where lesbians 
meet and the communities we build, I would 
suggest that the world of fiction becomes another 
"space" where lesbians can feel part of a commu- 
nity. Where they can see other women like them- 
selves. Where they can have access to a commu- 
nity when no other community is available. This, 
perhaps, is the greatest strength and most impor- 
tant aspect of lesbian fiction today. To paraphrase 
Adrienne Rich, we are writing ourselves into the 
book of myths. We are carving out a space. Find- 
ing buried treasure. Learning who we are, creat- 



ing new codes as Zimmerman suggests, and 
focusing on fresh visions, ultimately affecting not 
only the way we perceive ourselves, but also, the 
ways we can be. And we are not alone. 



Note: Heteroreality is term used by Janice Raymond in her 
book A Passion for Friends. 



31 





BOOK REVIEW 





A VERY PERSONAL REVIEW 

BI ANY OTHER NAME: 
BISEXUAL PEOPLE SPEAK OUT 

Edited by Loraine Hutchins and 
Lani Kaahumanu 
Alyson Publications 

Reviewed by Linda Bubon 



I am five years old and lying in my big bed in my 
upstairs bedroom with the pink, slanting walls. 
On two of the walls are little doors that lead to the 
attic. Each night I imagine that behind one door is 
a child-sized boy doll who comes to life, emerging 
from one pink door, to come and snuggle and kiss 
me. Emerging from the other pink door is an 
equally pretty girl doll who also comes to kiss and 
snuggle. Sometimes they come together; some- 
times they alternate nights. This is my first bi- 
sexual memory. 

When I am quiet and clear, I can trace the evolu- 
tion of my bisexual fantasies from kindergarten 
through college. But I was basically a "good" girl 
(albeit with a stubborn, independent streak), and I 
channelled my sexual energy into socially ap- 
proved friendships with girls (delightful, vital 
friendships that continue to this day) and ro- 
mances with boys (that flared up and died out, 
based almost exclusively on erotic interest). 

It wasn't until my late twenties, identifying as a 
feminist, meeting a couple of out lesbians and 
reading Rubyfruit Jungle, that I realized I could be 
romantic with a woman and not live some shad- 
owy, secret life. Because while sex with women 
had always seemed possible for me, living in a 
closet had not. I have always been outspoken. 

Then came the bookstore, and in the 1980's, a 
proliferation of lesbian books. I read many of 
them, but they left me curiously untouched. In 
fact, I remember being very disturbed by The 
Coming Out Stories; I just could not identify with 
the characters. 

How I wish Bi Any Other Name, the new anthology 
of bisexual essays, poems and personal stories, 
32 



BI ANY 



OTHER 



NAME 






had been available then! While I'm certain I would 
have made the same choices about committing 
myself to feminist work, I would have been qui- 
eter in my heart about my identity as a bisexual 
woman. And I would have been more articulate 
(and less apologetic) to both my straight and gay 
friends and family when they judged me confused 
or undecided. 

While I expected to identify with a number of the 
stories in the book, and I did, the book also held 
some surprises for me. I was surprised that so 
many of the contributors, both women and men, 
identified as feminists and have been active in the 
women's movement. Many give thoughtful, 
political analyses of this heterosexist culture. I was 
especially impressed by Dave Matteson's essay, 
"Bisexual feminist man," in which he states that 
feminism helped him to "see the links between 
gender oppression, the oppression of sexual 
minorities, and racism — all of which stem from the 
hierarchical view of male power." I was also 
grateful to Matteson for clarifying the various 
segments of the men's movement, one that is 
"even more divided politically" than the women's 
movement; a division which no doubt contributed 



to my prior confusion about whether it should be 
feared or applauded. Matteson has found real 
support and opportunities for growth in the "pro- 
feminist men's movement" with other bisexual 
and gay men (p. 48-49). 

Although many bisexuals are clearly saddened or 
disappointed by the lack of understanding and 
support they find in the gay and lesbian communi- 
ties, there is little whining about it. Most are 
grateful to the gay/lesbian liberation movement 
for helping them see their wholeness, and they 
recognize the importance of presenting a unified 
front in combatting homophobia. As Amanda 
Udis-Kessler writes in "Present tense: Biphobia as 
a crisis of meaning," bisexuals "must be actively 
involved in lesbian and gay liberation, both 
because it is our liberation and because lesbians 
and gay men need to know that we are really with 
them. We need to grapple with the reality of 
heterosexual privilege and its links to sex and 
class stratification. Until we do this, we will never 
convince lesbians and gay men that we won't 
simply abandon them in hard times" (p. 357). 

The chief strength of this book is its diversity. We 
hear the voices of bisexuals who are all races and 
multi-racial, all ages, gay-identified, straight- 
identified, bi-identified, bisexuals who came out 
before they were teenagers and those who waited 
until they were sixty. There is a refreshing lack of 
personal confusion or inner turmoil. While the 
world may not have believed they existed or 
thought that they were "going through a stage," 
most were clear about their identities even when 
they had been sexual with only one gender. 

Within this amazing diversity there are themes 
that echo through many of the pieces: I am not 



confused or undecided; I want to tell my truth, no 
matter if it fits anyone else's notion of reality or 
not (as one contributor says, "I can no more deny 
the depth of my ability to love people of both 
genders than I could the fact of being, myself, a 
woman"); passing is degrading — if I am "out" as 
"bi", I don't "pass" as anything else — there is no 
privilege taken in other people's mistaken as- 
sumptions; bisexuals are not the enemies of gays 
and lesbians — institutionalized heterosexism is; I 
embrace complexity in myself and in my relation- 
ships; it is time for bisexuals to be politically active 
as bisexuals as well as to continue to work for 
gay/lesbian liberation; and we are, and must 
continue to be, bridge-builders. 

I don't have to urge bisexuals to read this book — 
they will — because it speaks to them and because 
there's so little written on the subject (all of which 
is carefully documented in the notes and glossary). 

I do challenge heterosexuals and lesbians and gay 
men to read this book. Perhaps you will see 
yourself in it, perhaps not. But I don't think you'll 
be able to use the term "fence-sitter" again, and 
you won't be able to believe we don't exist. 

This is a rich, complex book, befitting the lives of 
the writers included. The editors are to be con- 
gratulated on the clarity of all the entries, an 
interesting and coherent organization of articles, 
and wonderfully thorough and insightful intro- 
ductions to each section. Thank you, Loraine 
Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, for creating the 
book I've always wanted to read. 



Linda Bubon, a happily single bisexual feminist, is the co- 
owner of Women & Children First, a Chicago bookstore, and 
the mother of a five year old son. 



33 





BOOK REVIEW 





LESBIAN LISTS 

Dell Richards 

Review by Lesley Daignault Pease 



Lesbian Lists reminds me of how I felt when I saw 
the film, Before Stonewall: proud, heartened, up- 
lifted, and eager to share what I had learned. If we 
don't listen to our chroniclers, we will perceive 
lesbian culture as extending only as far back as our 
own life memories. Thanks to Dell Richards for 
this validating and well-researched work. 



Lesbian Lists is a fascinating, entertaining, and 
sometimes quirky collection of lesbian herstory. It 
is the sort of book I want to leave lying around in 
obvious places so I can pick it up when I have a 
free moment or so my friends will see it and do 
the same. It is a book to be browsed and learned, 
for once one is familiar with the contents, names 
and events are easy to locate. Until then it does not 
lend itself to quick reference, for there is no index 
of subjects or names. The table of contents does 
group titles of lists into the broad categories: Arts 
and Lettres; Amazon Queens and Other Exotics; 
Switch Hitters and Cross Dressers; Lesbians and 
the Law; and A Global Affair. It was probably 
meant to be a coffee table book and not a reference 
source per se, but I can't help seeing it as one - 
what can I say? - I'm a reference librarian. And I 
want lesbians and non-lesbians alike to have 
access to this information. I therefore recommend 
it for all libraries, for all lesbians, and for those 
researching lesbian or women's history. 

Due to space limitations, the book focuses on pre- 
1970 lesbians. Imagine the difficulty in determin- 
ing who was a lesbian! Richards notes in her 
introduction that her bias is "toward women- 
identified women, whether they call themselves 
lesbians or not, whether they had sex or not." 
Lesbian Lists covers "romantic friends, spinsters, 
and sworn virgins," as well our more obvious 
sisters. Yes, indeed! 

Here is a sample of five of the 129 descriptive and 
lengthy titles, to give you, the reader, a sense for 
what Richards has included in this work: "19 
Historical Lesbian Couples and Their Years To- 
gether," "14 Cult Films with Lesbian Characters," 
"14 Amazon Cultures of the Ancient World," "19 
Alleged Cures for Lesbianism and Masturbation," 
and "12 U.S. States Where Lesbian Acts Are Still 
Illegal." 

34 



Lesley Daignault Pease is a wild and undomesticated 
women's studies bibliographer at Syracuse University 
Library. 




PORTLAND 

LESBIAN 
HOTEL 



LB.H./ Urban Art Retreat 

1833 NE 2nd 

Portland, Oregon 97212 

Call Ginger - (503) 281-5386 





BOOK REVIEW 





MOVEMENT IN BLACK 

Poetry By Pat Parker 
Firebrand Books, 1990 

CRIME AGAINST NATURE 

By Minnie Bruce Pratt 
Firebrand Books, 1989 

Reviewed by Mary Russo Demetrick 

When I heard these two poets read together at 
Spelman College in the summer of 1987, 1 was 
deeply moved. Just to be in the same room with 
Minnie Bruce Pratt and Pat Parker was inspiration 
enough, but I found them interesting because 
Parker and Pratt's themes were both lesbian and 
powerful, and undeniably political. On the other 
hand, their voices, appearances, and presenta- 
tional style were very different. 

These two books epitomize that dichotomy. Both 
writers are mothers, sensuous poets, and activists. 
But, originally, Parker's works were sold on street 
corners and in alternative bookstores; Crime 
Against Nature, Pratt's book, was awarded the 
mainstream Lamont Poetry Selection by the 
Academy of American Poets. 

Parker's book revolves around the choral poem, 
"Movement in Black." In other pieces, she ad- 
dresses her family, lovers, friends, and the world 
in an immediate everyday, conversational patter. 
Reading Parker, you hear her voice in the ca- 
dences of the pieces themselves — all the more 
powerful because this book was published after 
her death of breast cancer in 1989. 

In one of the strongest poems in this collection, 
"when i was a child..." Parker reflects on her long- 
standing failure to comply with her parents' rules 
while watching her mother slip into death. Parker 
imagines that when this is over, 

...i will lean over my mother 

& whisper in her ear — 

yes mam, mama, yes mam. 

Other pieces like "Let me come to you naked..." 
speak in an unashamed, lusty voice — a voice 
proud to be gay, woman, mother. 



In Crime Against Nature, Pratt writes of her fears, 
risks and sensuality, focusing on her struggle to 
live her life as she defines it. The unifying theme 
binds each work with her reflections on losing 
custody of her children many years ago. 
"My Life You are Talking About" tells of the anger 
and misconceptions she encounters when she tells 
a woman she knows that she is writing about her 
children. As a lesbian, other women assume that 
she is not a mother, or that if she is writing about 
her children, they are "sweet" poems. These 
poems wrench the gut. Any woman, and espe- 
cially women who are mothers, can relate to their 
immediacy and sense of loss. Pratt's poems flow in 
a rhythm that often ends with a sign. Some of the 
book's most powerful lines come from the title 
poem. 

The ones who fear me think they know who I 
am. 

...I become a character to fit into their fictions, 

..In the end my children visit me 

as I am. But I didn't write this story 

until now when 

they are too old for either law or 

father to seize 

or prevent from hearing my words, or from 

watching 

as I advance in the scandalous ancient way 

of women... 

To compare these works, one must say "powerful 
and moving." But you cannot truly compare them. 
Read each and savor it for the gifts it offers. Here 
are two unique women's lives, offered to us on 
outstretched palms, with no misgivings or apolo- 
gies. 

Mary Russo Demetrick is a non-traditional student pursing a 
speech communication degree at Syracuse University's 
College of Visual and Performing arts. Currently the 
Manager of University Publications at Syracuse University, 
she writes, edits and manages admissions and other 
University publications. An active member of the National 
Women's Studies Association, New York State Speech 
Communication Association and the National League of 
American Pen Women, her work has been published in 
Plainswoman, Lake Effect, La Bella Figura, The Round Table, 
Voices in Italian Americana, Word of Mouth: Short-Short Writings 
by Women, Sinister Wisdom, and elsewhere. 



35 





BOOK REVIEW 





THE CHANT OF THE WOMEN OF 
MAGDALEN A AND THE 
MAGDALEN A POEMS 

Woman in the Moon Publications, 2215-R 

Market Street, Box 137-CWM, San Francisco CA 94114. 

SDiane Bogus 

Reviewed by Nancy Seale Osborne 



SDiane Bogus prefaces her chant and poetry book 
with an essay on tradition and poetic memory. 
Her mother, "quite unknowingly exposed a small 
Black girl in a very unpoetic Chicago flat (circa 
1956)" to narrative lyric poetry. 'The land of the 
narrative poem beckoned with its rhythms, its 
heroic figures, its exotic ambience... it allowed me 
to escape the pain... it became my refuge." 



For writers desirous of trying a new poetic form, 
Bogus' stories of women escapees from an English 
jail who create a society of artists and common 
women without men, offer "an American origi- 
nal." The band of women include Spanish, 
English, African, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Chi- 
nese, French, and Creek and Pequot American 
Indians. They pool their gifts and perspectives to 
address the question "What is the moral nature of 
woman?" The Magdalena poems are meant to be 
read aloud. A comprehensive, five-page list of 
references and works cited includes works by 
Gwendolyn Brooks, Mari Evans, Nikki Giovanni, 
Judy Grahn, Angelina Weld Grimke, Audre Lorde, 
and Toni Morrison. A historical background for 
the chant and poems, from the year 900 (the 
beginning of French and Spanish whaling) to 1712 
(the year of the last witch trial), concludes the 
volume. 




(L)SDiane and (R)T. Nelson, Publishers of WIM (Women in the Moon Publications) 



36 



---— y '. 



__- """"' 4-. - i I 



- _ j — ■ — - _ 




WINSLOW HOMER'S 
WATCHING THE BREAKERS 

Two women poise 
on a lifeless point, the ocean looms 
on either side, broom-swept right 
then left by a diligent wind doing things 
this way forever. The women will never stop 
looking to sea, past a body of salt- 
water that wraps indifference around 
its shining shoulders. 

Clothed in propriety's dullness, one woman 
endures a single shade of brown. In her 
hand an empty basket for possibilities. 
The second wears black, but here 
at the edge, her bodice quivers half undone, 
the brim of her hat lifted, flashing white. 

Overhead the sky boils 

into gray-black curves and shapes 

men name cat or dragon. The women watch 

the ocean, dream themselves across it. 

One of them holds a vermilion scarf; it rises 

and shakes itself against the wind. 





m 




THREE PORTRAITS 

Laurie Suzanne Lessen 

Selections from a work in progress in tribute to forty great women 
who have had a profound effect on the world. 




ANAIS NIN 

YOUNG AND OLD, OLD AND YOUNG 

Yours was immaculate conception creating 

Your self out of yourself. (An angel's celestial 

Eyes that catch everything in one illuminating glance.) 

Mother of Spain and America and France, 

Mother of the galaxies. (Porcelain daughter 

Smooth as an egg, sweet as a dream, exotic 

Flower.) Smiling comes easy once perfection has 

shed its tight veil. See the deep evidence age 

Adorns you with: feathers of pleasure flaring 

Out from your eyes. (No more the pained innocence 

Of untouchable cheeks) but mother of yourself, 

Goddess electrified by your own achievements. 

Still the eyes are subaqueous caverns of dream 

Where daughter takes comfort in her own myth-made regime. 



38 



VIRGINIA WOOLF 
POINTS AND SLOPES 



Such salient features sloping down and away. 
Bones all formed to make radical points. Points 
And slopes your face is a smooth mountain range held together 
With tension, your forehead ripples with the 
Weight of it; flesh folded like an accordion. 
There can be no release all of your parts would fall 
Away. A sharp despair deep in the deep- 
Set eyes where an amber holds 
Your steady gaze. Points and slopes. Slightly parted 
Lips, the upper ones points, the lower one 
Slopes. It is an uneasy breath that escapes this barely 
Opened mouth, this pretty mouth, this nubile mouth. 
What do your eyes see that your mouth does not? 
Such pain in the glass of your eyes or is that light gladness? 




39 



GERTRUDE STEIN 

MONOCHROMATIC PEARL 

Perfect egg shaped head but I will call it a pearl 

Lined with decades of unraveling thought. 

The iridescence of your shorn and hoary hair 

Softens the grandiose orb of your stout 

Elegance. Eyes that think and undo and rebuild. 

What a menagerie of ingredients 

All gathered in the circumference of one face! 

Thin lips lingering out in one languorous 

Line, laughing dimples that break the seriousness 

Of your whiskered chin, and the grandfather 

Nose, all fragments of every man and woman. 

Your eyes warm themselves deeply set in the shade of 

Grey hovering brows. Monochromatic pearl 

Full of new worlds and a language none have known. 




40 





LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 





The latest issue of The Creative Woman is most 
impressive - a beautiful lay-out and challenging 
contents, admirable for its scope and variety as 
well as for the high quality of the writing and the 
well chosen illustrations. Every story held my 
attention, moving me with its compassionate 
portrayal of the courage with which these women 
confront their handicaps. The uses of adversity are 
memorable, but I doubt that any of these people 
were ever ordinary; Judy Panko Reis says they all 
were. 



Allegra Stewart 
Indianapolis 




It was with great delight that I devoured the most 
recent issue of The Creative Woman. 

The focus on women who creatively deal with 
what the world terms "disabilities" was inspira- 
tional. Your editorial about who are really the 
deaf, blind, paralyzed, and brain damaged gave 
the reader a new perspective. The real beauty was 
these women's stories; an added beauty was the 
manner of presentation, the photos selected, and 
th attention to detail that you and your staff 
should be most proud of. It is sheer joy to read 
such a fine publication. 



Harriet Hudnut Halliday 
Winnetka, Illinois 



DOUBLE WINNER 

Joanne Zimmerman had her story, "The Good 
Guy," win both an Illinois Arts Council Award 
and the Daniel Curley Award, each worth $1000. 
The story appeared in Whetstone and is an ex- 
cerpt from her novel, Cares and Joys, a work in 
progress. Zimmerman has published 54 stories, 
including "Accommodation" which appeared in 
The Creative Woman, Volume 8, No. 2, Summer 
1987. Our heartiest congratulations to a good 
friend of this magazine, one oi our writers, on her 
most recent successes! 



Joanne Zimmerman. Photo credit: Katherine Schwartz. 



41 





ANNOUNCEMENTS 





Matrix Artist Group 

A number of former GSU art students and south-suburban artists have organized into a for- 
profit corporation called Matrix Gallery, Inc.. We are now seeking artists for membership. The 
group will be limited to fifteen members. It will sponsor organized events, provide exhibition 
space, offer support, encouragement and opportunities for growth and development through 
professional association. Members will include artists in both the fine and performing arts. 
Artists working traditionally as well as in contemporary styles will be welcome. We intend to 
have activities for artists outside the membership and also events open to the public. We are 
currently interested in renting space which will serve exhibition purposes, gallery events and 
activities. Art work done by the Matrix Gallery Group, including painting, prints, photographs, 
and sculpture is now on exhibition in the GSU Art Gallery until July 30. 

if you are interested in becoming a member of the Matrix Gallery Group or would like more 
information, please call 672-555 or 481-4521. 




GAYELLOW PAGES 

INFORMING THE LESBIAN & GAY COMMUNITY SINGE 1973 

Accommodations, AIDS/HIV resources, bars, bookstores, various businesses, health care, legal services, organizations, publications, 
religious groups, switchboards, therapists, travel agents ... and more ... for gay women and men: 

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LESBIAN WRITERS FUND AWARDS HISTORIC GRANTS 

New York, August 16, 1991: The Board of Directors of Astraea 
National Lesbian Action Foundation is proud to grant the Sappho 
Award of Distinction to Audre Lorde — lesbian feminist poet, 
writer, and activist — an honor which is part of Astraea 's newly 
established Lesbian Writers Fund. The $5,000 award will be given 
to the internationally acclaimed Lorde in recognition of her body 
of work which is a model and inspiration for lesbians and women 
worldwide. 

THE ASTRAEA FOUNDATION A 666 BROADWAY A SUITE 520 A NEW YORK. NY 10012 «S 212-529-8021 



42 





ANNOUNCEMENTS 






To Order 

Straight Talk About Lesbians is a 65-minute 
two-part sound filmstrip with complete sound 
track on cassettes. 

Rental: $50 Purchase: $325 



To order please contact: 
D "J B Women's Educational Media, Inc. 
B J H 47 Cherry Street 
HJQfl Somerville, Massachusetts 02144 
(617) 666-0350 



LESBIAN 
HERSTORY 
ARCHIVES 



The Lesbian Herstory Archives has served the 
community for over 16 years. As the largest 
and oldest lesbian archive in the world it is 
home for over 10,000 books, 12,000 photos, 
and 1,300 periodical tides, letters, diaries, and 
organizational papers. It is now engaged in a 
fundraising campaign to buy a building. To 
donate to the Archives or for more information 
(including their periodical newsletter), write: 
PO Box 1258, New York, NY 10116. or call 
212-874-7232. 




i.i'.sr.i w iii;iisToin \i;< m\ i 

i\ MKMOin i >i 
Till: YOU KSWI II \\ I I <M 



43 





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44 





£ D ITO R' S COL U M N 





Another Look at 

THE COMING OF AGE 

Over ten years ago we examined the varied as- 
pects of the process of aging in a special issue of 
this magazine, borrowing Simone de Beauvoir's 
felicitous phrase for our title: it suggested matura- 
tion, achievement, ripening, rather than what Ruth 
Jacobs calls the "terrible D factors." 

A decade has passed. This month three books fell 
out of the sky, or wherever publishers store the 
review copies they so generously keep dropping 
on the desks of editors — even editors of small, 
obscure journals like ours. It would be hard to find 
three more disparate treatments of aging. This 
continues to be a hot topic, with so many of us 
living longer. And it is just possible that the 
process has again captured our attention as we 
approach the closing of another decade, another 
milestone (one hopes, another steppingstone) in 
the journey. A friend of ours, Cathy Blair, decided 
that she needed help to face what she described as 
"the abyss" of her seventieth birthday; she 
planned three days of events, from prairie walks 
and theater parties to breakfasts, picnics and 
cocktail hours, and invited all her kith and kin. 
They duly arrived, from all over, by car and plane, 
and it was, for Cathy, glorious, gratifying, and 
exhausting. So that's one way to do it, in style. 

These three new books present other approaches 
and viewpoints: a light-hearted how-to manual by 
Ruth Jacobs, a sober evaluation of therapy with 
the older patient by Wayne Myers, and an in- 
tensely personal memoir by Doris Grumbach. 

Be an Outrageous Older Woman - a RASP 
(Remarkable Aging Smart Person) 
Ruth Harriet Jacobs, KIT, 
Manchester, Connecticut. 

Dynamic Therapy of the Older Patient 
Wayne A. Myers, Jason Aronson, New York. 

Coming Into the End Zone 

Doris Grumbach, W. W. Norton. 

Ruth Jacobs, Ph.D., a sociologist/gerontologist/ 
professor, has written a survival manual that is 
full of practical and humorous advice. As an 
example of how to be a trouble-maker, she de- 



Be An 



Older Woman — 

*Remarkable Aging Smart Person 




Ruth Harriet Jacobs, PhD 



scribes a sixties-style sit-in to protest the lack of 
adequate low-cost housing for seniors. Her advice 
boils down to: "Don't rage. Be outrageous." Her 
book is fun, full of original ideas, new kinds of 
housing arrangements, and ingenious economies. 
If your physician responds to your complaints 
with "What do you expect at your age?" find 
yourself another doctor. Her book ends with a 
kind of manifesto that bears quoting here: 

/ intend to be outrageous for the rest of my life. Being 
outrageous means that I will not accept insults, being 
ignored, or being maltreated. I deserve to be valued, 
listened to, and respected and treated well by others. I 
also deserve to listen to my own needs and wants and to 
try to fulfill than. I will be outrageous also in the pursuit 
of a good society and world for all people, young, middle 
age, and old. I will use my crone's wisdom to nag, 
advocate, fight for good causes, and fight against the bad 
ones. 1 consider myself and other old women beautiful. 
Our wrinkles record the wonderful emotions we have 
expressed all our lives and will continue to express. Our 
bodies show the burdens we have carried and the wonder 
ful journeys we have made. Our grey and white hair is a 
halo softening our features and symbolizing our new 
beauty. I will be vital in my dress, not drab as if to hide 
myself. I am not a bit of refuse from life. I am a cdebra 
Hon of it. 

Jacobs' book is an antidote for what she calls the 
"terrible D factors." (discontent, displeasure, 
danger, discomfort, disturbance, dispiritedness, 



45 



dismay, disquiet, depression and disorganiza- 
tion — and she doesn't even mention Disease or 
Death). She gives her readers positive images and 
models, something to look forward to. There are 
still some unopened presents under the Christmas 
tree. 



It seems, with hindsight, that Sigmund Freud was 
wrong about a lot of things. He was ageist as well 
as sexist. Freud wrote that therapy was a waste of 
time for patients over fifty: there was too much 
material to work through, there was not enough 
time left to make the effort worthwhile, and 
anyway, such patients are inelastic and inedu- 
cable. Wayne Myers, M.D., training and supervis- 
ing analyst at Columbia University, has written a 
persuasive refutation of Freud on this matter. He 
reviews the literature on psychotherapy and the 
older patient, noting contributions by Abraham, 
Kaufman, Alexander, Grotjahn, Meerloo, Segal, 
Erikson, Klein, Shainess, and Neugarten, among 
others. Six chapters present case studies of Myers' 
patients ranging in age from 54 to 71, lengthy and 
detailed, interesting stories. His conclusions: the 
psychoanalysis of older patients is both feasible 
and useful; Freud's dicta against it were "unwar- 
ranted, unwise, and inaccurate." Any older person 
who is emotionally troubled can take heart from 
these conclusions, and should actively seek help 
for psychological problems. The indicators for 
therapeutic success are exactly the same regard- 
less of age. Every therapist should read this book. 



Doris Grumbach, known for her dry, perceptive, 
intelligent, brief book reviews for National Public 
Radio, is also the author of seven previous 
books — novels, biography, criticism — of which my 
favorite of The Ladies, her story of two eighteenth- 
century Irish women who eloped together to live 
in Llangollen, Wales. But the voice we hear in this 
memoir is strikingly different. Coming Into the End 
Zone takes us through the year she turned seventy, 
of her horror, and of her moving with her com- 
panion, Sybil, to a small town on the coast of 
Maine. Sybil owns a bookstore, Wayward Books, 
in Washington, D.C., thus the move entails selling 
and buying homes as well as moving the book- 
store. The book begins in despair. "What is the 
matter with Grumbling Grumbach?" the reader 
wonders. She sounds as if she's falling apart. She 
describes herself as a "disgruntled curmudgeon," 




COMING INTO THE 
END ZONE 



all used up, with nothing to look forward to, and 
so forth. She lists her dislikes, including, with 
honesty, "most people." But wait. There's spunk 
in the old girl yet. She goes to Paris for a luxurious 
trip, which she publishes as "Paris on Five Hun- 
dred Dollars a Day," and she does this elaborate 
trip, complete with an expensive new wardrobe, 
even though she has just taken a bad fall, sprained 
an ankle and broken a shoulder. With all her 
grumbling, we see that she still has formidable 
inner and outer resources on which to call. As she 
takes us month by month through this critical 
year, we envy her vast store of friends in the 
worlds of writing, editing, broadcasting, and 
publishing, and her capacity for friendship, for 
maintaining contact, for feeling and showing her 
love to the many women and men who are part of 
the fabric of her life. We admire her acuity of 
perception, her ability to make connections be- 
tween a contemporary event, a vista, a word or 
phrase, and some vital resonating memory from 
her rich seventy years. 

In sum, we recommend these three to our readers, 
whether you are already "older" or only anticipat- 
ing and hoping to become so. You will find laugh- 
ter, or reassurance, or poignant evocations of your 
own experiences. Each is a valid alternative to 
dreading the "abyss." 

HEH 



46 



The following 

Vol. 1, No. 4 
Vol. 2, No. 4 
Vol. 3, No. 2 
Vol. 3, No. 3 
Vol. 4, No. 1 
Vol. 4, No. 2 
Vol. 4, No. 4 
Vol. 5, No. 2 
Vol. 6, No. 3 
Vol. 6, No. 4 
Vol. 7, No. 1 
Vol. 7, No. 2 
Vol. 7, No. 4 
Vol. 8, No. 1 
Vol. 8, No. 2 
Vol. 8, No. 3 
Vol. 8, No. 4 
Vol. 9, No. 1 
Vol. 9, No. 2 

Vol. 9, No. 3 
Vol. 9, No. 4 
Vol.10, No. 1 
Vol.10, No. 2 
Vol.10, No. 3 
Vol.10, No. 4 
Vol.11, No. 1 
Vol.11, No. 2 


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